If you have looked into yixing clay before then you have probably heard people suggesting only to use your yixing teaware with one type of tea. This is because the clay is porous and easily absorbs flavors and aromas.
It is, in fact, one of the qualities why yixing pottery is so prized. The unglazed teaware works to our benefit when the clay absorbs the tea’s taste and becomes coated with the tea leaf’s natural oils. Eventually, after many gong fu cha ceremonies, the teaware will have its own taste. This taste is what many tea connoisseurs seek. Even when pouring hot water into a coated yixing, the water will have a strong flavor of tea.
For this reason, it is recommended to stick with one type of tea when using yixing teaware, so the complex flavor profiles don’t end up masking each other.
So Which Yixing Teapot Do You Choose For Your Tea?
- For Ripe Pu-erh:
Choose a round and tall teapot
- For Raw Pu-erh:
Choose a round teapot, not necessarily tall
- For Black Tea:
A round, tall teapot with a small spout works best
Round teapots work well at… rounding out and mellowing teas, as well as making them sweeter! They also ensure that certain tea types, like oolong, have enough room to expand.
- For Light Oolongs:
Round and tall teapots with thin walls work best
- For Dark Oolongs:
Flat teapots with thick walls work best
Flat teapots are perfect for dark oolongs and certain black teas!
Since darker teas require longer brewing times, the tea leaves rest on the flat bottom, releasing all their best qualities.
A well-seasoned flat bottom yixing will conceal the less favorable bitter notes and strong roast of certain teas, bring forth the gentlest of aromas and all the sweet notes.
We recommend sticking to one tea type per teapot for as long as you can and experience the difference side by side with a regular (non-seasoned teapot).
- For Yellow, Green, and White Teas:
A round, short teapot with a wide spout works best. Pay extra importance to the walls, which should be thinner than other teapots. These tea types are very delicate, thus the teaware should ideally conduct as little heat as possible so as not to over-brew the tea
However, in general, these lighter tea types (greens, yellows, and whites) are rarely drunk from yixing clay teaware. For these delicate teas porcelain and glass work best.
What Are The Different Types Of Yixing Clay?
Zhu Sha / Zhu Ni:
Zhu Ni clay teapots are very fragile and difficult to make, so they mostly come only in small sizes. The texture is glossy as if there is always some tea inside. In fact, this is just the unique characteristic of the clay, and it is often sought after amongst teaware enthusiasts.
Zi Sha / Zi Ni (Purple Clay):
Teas are the Zisha purple clay teapots which are some of the most popular.
- Hong Ni (Red Clay):
Red Clay is very scarce thus the teapots always yield a higher price.
For more information on teaware check out our articles Choosing The Right Teaware For Gongfucha and What You Need To Know Before Purchasing A Yixing Teapot.